Posted May 24th, 2010No Comments Yet
As the sun sets in Ashagram (Village of Hope), those that live here settle down and begin their chores to wrap up the day and set things for the next. You can see and hear the bustling of activity at the Jubilee home (the home in the village) where little boys and girls scurry around accomplishing their tasks while trying to finish conversations with their buddies and giggling about things that little ones find so humorous. There are the loving home mothers (BTC staff that look after the children) that make sure that all is in order and that the Jubilee home is a safe place. But if one is to silently observe, you will also see another ‘mother’ that is busy making sure all the young ones are brushing their teeth, getting their pajamas on and saying their prayers before turning into bed. There are several things that set this ‘mother’ apart from the others but the most notable must be her age. Shabhanna is her name and she is only eight years old. No one has asked Shabhanna to take on this role, it’s just something that comes naturally for her. This compassionate and nurturing heart plays a vital role at the Jubilee home especially when a child comes here for the first time, scared and uncertain. Shabhanna will run to the car pick up the young one and does what she does best, let them know they are safe and loved. Shabhanna was born in the same place as most of the other children at the home, in the hell of Kamithipura, the red light district of Mumbai. Here, women are trafficked into small, dark brothels where they are tortured and forced to satisfy the carnal pleasures of men. Shabhanna was one of three children born to a young woman who lived and worked in the brothels. Her nights were very different from the nights at Jubilee. She and her brother would either walk the streets through the night while their mother was “at work” or worse yet, they would lay quiet under the bed while their mother was at “work” above. As it happens too often, Shabhanna’s mother became ill and as a result, of no value to her brothel keepers. They were thrown out of the brothel and left in the alleys. Within days, Shabhanna’s mother passed away with her children sitting at her side, watching helplessly. Not having any other option, Shabhanna’s older brother brought her and her younger brother to a government run hospital and ran off never to come back again. Shabhanna’s younger brother, Pir Mohammad was just two at the time and the doctors found that he had the same illness that his mother had passed away from. Pir Mohammad was HIV positive. During this time, a dear friend of BTC was visiting the hospital and heard a child singing in the distance. As she came closer, she saw four year old Shabhanna sitting in the crib beside her younger brother holding him and singing to him. This woman being an American did not understand what was being sung and asked a nurse to translate. It was a song that Shabhanna had made up and she was singing, “Dear little Mohammad, Dear little Mohammad, I know that mummy has died and you are not well. But don’t cry, I will look after you and be sure you grow up to be a strong man.” The American woman told BTC about this and the children were brought to Ashagram. That was four years ago. Today, Pir Mohammad is a healthy and strong young boy who receives proper medical care so that he can grow up to be a strong man. Shabhanna is a beautiful young girl who the Lord is shaping up to do some amazing things. They both go to sleep in a safe and loving place knowing that a new day is waiting for them filled with promise and hope. Through the darkness and despair, the Lord has not forgotten the cries of the orphans and widows. As the psalmist says, “extol Him who rides on the clouds,” “He is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.” We at Bombay Teen Challenge are honored to be a part of His plan and to see how He restores.